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Karnataka: Woman Arrested for WhatsApp Status on 'Peace and Harmony' on Pakistan’s Republic Day

The police arrested her on a complaint by an activist, who alleged “she was creating enmity between two communities by posting wishes on Pakistan’s Republic day”.

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New Delhi: A 25-year-old woman was arrested in Karnataka on March 24 for allegedly posting a WhatsApp status message on Pakistan’s Republic Day, which falls on March 23.

According to The Indian Express, the message posted by the woman read: “May God bless every nation with peace, unity and harmony”.

The woman, identified as Kuthma Sheikh, is a resident of Mudhol town in Bagalkot district, which is located in the northern part of Karnataka. She is a student at a local madrasa.

A police officer told the newspaper that Sheikh was arrested to “maintain peace and law and order”. She was released on bail on March 25.

The police arrested her on a complaint by an activist, Arun Kumar Bhajantri, who alleged “she was creating enmity between two communities by posting wishes on Pakistan’s Republic day”, the daily reported.

The police booked her under Sections 153(A) (creating enmity between groups on the basis of religion, race, etc.) and 505(2) (statements promoting enmity between groups) of the Indian Penal Code.

Athani-based lawyer and Right to Information activist, Bheemanagouda Paragonda, told Scroll.in that the allegations made by Bhajantri would not stand legal scrutiny, adding that innocent people are harassed by knee-jerk reactions from the police.

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Last year, Prime Minister Modi had wished his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan on Pakistan’s National day, saying India desires cordial relations with the people of the nation. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi had wished former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the country’s Republic Day.

Some Twitter users have questioned the Bagalkot police’s decision to arrest the woman for wishing peace, unity and harmony to every nation.